In February 2013, DSTA delivered to the SAF Business Information Analytics (BIA) capabilities in the domains of finance, logistics, and safety. With these information analytics and data mining capabilities, the voluminous raw data in application systems can now offer greater insights, trends and projections, leading to informed decision making for the SAF.

As most of the data sources were designed to support operational transactions, they were not organised for analytics. Often, records were stored in a variety of formats and distributed across multiple systems. Some data were stored in spreadsheets while others were obtained from external sources. The DSTA team had to consolidate and standardise the data for meaningful analysis to be done.

Most commercial off-the-shelf solutions were inadequate for the unique requirements of MINDEF and the SAF. Hence, the team adopted an iterative approach which leverages a hybrid set of state-of-the-art BIA tools. A randomised subset of the data sources was extracted for data transformation and harmonisation to ensure that the data from various sources are converted into a consistent format. The trends and projections identified from the randomised sets of data were then validated, through prototypes using various data analytics techniques such as modelling, segmentation and categorisation. This prototyping approach proved to be more effective than an extensive one-time implementation, as it allowed the team to review requirements, validate patterns and trends, as well as make necessary refinements along the way.

For the safety domain in particular, simulations have been developed to trace factors contributing to heat injuries. Such findings can be used to enhance safety prevention strategies. In the logistics domain, analytics of trends of demand against utilisation of resources are used to pre-empt potential shortfalls. Planners can use these insights to better plan stock replenishments. With the progressive roll-out of the BIA capabilities, users are empowered to conduct in-depth business analyses and uncover new insights.